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Project List (as of 2009-06-18) UPDATED 2009-07-12

UPDATED 2009-07-12: Added "Multi-channel loop pedal"

On the short list of things to work on:
- Code Name: Curious George
I have an EE project that has a sort of deadline (June 30th, though earlier is better) that I don't want to talk too much about just yet. It might lead to a speaking position at DefCon this year (hence the deadline) so I kinda want to keep it under wraps for a bit longer.

This project involves some simple EE hacking that I just haven't gotten around to starting yet. It's something that, given enough table space (the lack of which has prevented me starting this project already) I should be able to at least provide a proof of concept in just a few hours, so I might attempt it after Zoe goes to bed. Otherwise, I'll do this next Thursday.

- The Seebeck Clock
I've built a clock out of old school analog panel meters (picture here; ignore the gargoyles, they're just for looks), but the micro controller that runs the thing uses more power than I'd like (about 50mA or so). I'm working on an ATmega168 (or smaller) program to control the thing that will run on as little as 1.8vDC at 100uA; the 1mA it takes to drive each meter will be the long pole in the tent. I also plan to add a WWVB receiver (another 100uA) so the clock can set itself.

The REAL fun part about this project is that I want it to be powered by a candle. Stolen directly from the pages of Make: magazine, the Seebeck generator is just a Peltier device run backwards: heat one side, keep the other side cool, and it will generate electricity. The guy who wrote the article got about 5vDC at 1A. That's a LOT of power. Dump that into a large cap (2F at 24vDC is the one I picked up on sale from Frys for $25) and use efficient switching voltage regulators and I figure you can run the clock for at least a week from a single candle, maybe longer.

- Code Name: Shakespeare
I have an idea for a Web 2.0 application that I think could be very popular, and it even has a decent chance of making money. It has to do with lending and borrowing money ("Neither A Lender Nor A Borrower Be," hence the code name.) I'm not much of a software developer, so I'm likely to get help on this project.

- Motorcycle Audio
I'm a Ham Radio operator (KR6ZY for those who care), a motorcyclist, and an rabid, card carrying, punch drinking, iPhone lover. I want to build an system that will mix audio from my ham rig (Kenwood D700a) and my iPhone (both iPod audio and phone audio) and send it to my helmet. Big easy-to-use-with-gloves knobs on the console of the bike will control volumes of each device. There will be a single large start/stop button for the iPhone. There will be a PTT and channel up/channel down control on the left handle bar for the ham rig. The microphone audio from my helmet will go to both the radio and the iPhone so I can answer and make phone calls (thank you, Apple, for adding voice control to the iPhone 3GS!), and carry on a conversation on the ham rig. Oh, and the iPhone will be charged while connected (obviously.)

I've already done a lot of the work for the radio half of this project, just in time for the body of my radio to die on me (I screwed up the wiring of the remote head and burned out a component on the radio.) I'm either going to steal the radio body from the truck, attempt to fix the one I've got, or find a used one on eBay. The audio mixing component of this project has been thought about a lot, but nothing has actually be done yet.

- Upgrade halibut.com
I run a Unix system, halibut.com. It's old. It's very old. It runs an OS circa 2000 (RedHat 6.2). I plan to build a new system on CentOS 5.2 (or whatever is out at the time I get around to it) and migrate users and features to it from the old system.

On the Long List of "Maybe Some Day" Projects:
- Fish Tank Controller:
Build a microcontroller based fish tank control module. Sensor to monitor, report and record: temperature and pH. Light control to turn on and off a moon light, "east" and "west" lights as appropriate at sunrise and sunset for my local region, so the fish get seasons (No reason other than "because I can.") An LCD display to show the current time, sunrise and sunset times, temp, pH, etc. Use pH, time-of-day, and total-on-time information to calculate when to turn on and off a CO2 injection system for my plants. Possibly include a control for an automatic feeder for while we're away.

- Nerdly Les Paul:
Get a new pair of 5 wire humbucker pickups for my Les Paul and devise a new wiring scheme that will allow ultimate flexibility in how each pickup is wired: Single coil, serial in-phase, serial out-of-phase, parallel in-phase, parallel out-of-phase. The of course the same configuration option for the two pickups themselves. Change the output to be shielded balanced.

- Multi-channel loop pedal:
A large pedal (ala "guitar pedal") that controls multiple tracks of live recorded loops. People make these so this is not anything original, but I think it would be cool to make my own. Could be used for music like what KT Tunstall (live) and Zoe Keating (live and studio) do.

- Internet controlled HF station:
I used to belong to a ham radio club at a company I worked for. When the company went under, I ended up with the gear from the club (Yaesu FT-920 HF radio, Cushcraft R8 vertical HF antenna, computer interface for digital modes, etc.) It is my intention to hook all this up and allow the old club members (and probably any ham for that matter) to control and use the radio over the Internet. When I first thought of this idea, the control software didn't exist to do this; it does now, so I just need to put it all together.

I've got more 2m radios and TNCs than I know what to do with. Why not run an APRS IGATE: receive ARPS traffic from my area and transmit it to the APRS clusters on the Internet.

- 12vDC Solar Power System:
Stick a 100(ish)W 12vDC solar panel on the roof and use it to charge a large battery to run the radio gear listed above. Add an inverter and it could be used for emergency power in the event of an extended power outage.

- My Perfect Keyboard:
Take a Kinesis keyboard, split it in half, spread it apart by about 4 inches, and you've got my perfect keyboard. Alternatively, take each half and mount them to the arms on a large comfy desk chair with good back support, mount a track ball off to the left (where $Deity had intended pointing devices to live, thankyouverymuch) and I'd have my ideal captain's chair for work on the computer.

- Writing:
I've never written fiction in my life, but listening to all the podcasts I do, I feel like I want to try.

- Audio Production:
Take either my own fiction, or fiction written by others, and produce it into audio productions. I'm already involved in Between The Lines Studios so this itch is being scratched to some degree, but I'd love to do my own stuff too.

- Music:
I love writing music and want to continue.

- iPhone Development:
I run a Citadel BBS that I never login to anymore because SSH on the iPhone, while it does work, it far from convenient. I'd like to write a native Citadel Client for the iPhone so I'd be more likely to login to my own dang BBS again.

I'm sure there are more, but this is about all I can think of off the top of my head. (Is that all?!)


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